Monday, March 5, 2018

Waiter, there's a Nietzsche in my snark!

Another wordless sighting of the HMS Snark, observed tacking ‘round the Bonnet-Maker, whose resemblance to Friedrich Nietzsche borders upon the implausible. But plause we must! After a promising start in hunting Snark on the Continent, Fred Nietzsche was surprised by a Boojum on the streets of Turin* in 1889. The shock was fatal … in his own words …

"Since I am condemned to amuse the coming eternity with bad jokes, I have set up a writing business which actually leaves nothing to be desired … Last autumn I attended, dressed as lightly as possible, my own burial twice … negligé of one’s attire is a pre-requisite of good form … I go everywhere in my student jacket, here and there I tap someone on the shoulder and say : ' Siamo contente? Son dio, ho fatto questa caricatura (Are we happy? I am god, we did this caricature today) . " **

Apart from this, our communal Snark enterprise, to this day no one has ever taken Nietzsche at his final word, preferring instead his earlier, less humorous work. What a brilliant career this Prussian Snark-hunter could have had in the realm of Wilhelminian nonsense literature …

Let this be a lesson to all those who hunt the Snark — some Boojums one will never discover, unless one invents them first!

NB. By habitually linking the words "Friedrich Nietzsche" with the word "Bonnet", I plan to create the germ of the seed of the beginning of a informational non-sequitur (triggered by some unusually google-gullible undergraduate searching for a quick copypasteprint) which will bring western civilization as we know it to its arthritic knees. Après la snarque, le deluge! Cue evil laughter here!

* Empty piazzi, depopulated train stations, the eternally recurring backdrop for our Snark hunt, de Chirico, Hebdomeros, Savinio, Calvino … all the lost and emptied portmanteaux of European protosurrealism. 

**Black Letters Unleashed: 300 Years of Enthused Writing in German, Ed. by Malcolm Green, Atlas Press, London, 1989. Do we detect the perfectly light and razor-sharp touch of Robert Walser in these sad lines? Oh, these literary bread-crumbs with which we encrust the Wiener Schnitzel of protosurrealism!

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